Representation of History in the Indian Graphic Novel: An Analytical Study of History Through the Frame of Graphic Narratives


This research paper attempt to explore how, through the amalgamation of images and words, India’s historical events have been represented within the frame of the graphic narrative and how these narratives serve to uphold the “history from below”, thereby providing counter narratives to the more dominant, so called “historical facts”. History in the graphic narrative is a persistent theme as “the visual dimension of the graphic novel contributes substantially not only to our understanding of history but also to a larger question of how history can be represented” (Nayar 2016: 14). By primarily focusing on texts like This Side That Side: Restorying Partition curated by Vishwajyoti Ghosh (dealing with the Partition of India in 1947 and its aftermath), Bhimayana by Srividya Natarajan, Durgabai Vyam and S. Anand (dealing with the caste system in India by tracing the life of Dr. Ambedkar), Delhi Calm by Vishwajyoti Ghosh(portraying the Emergency of 1975-76) and Munnu by Malik Sajad (portraying the national crisis in Kashmir) and also drawing reference to graphic narratives across the world like Speigelman’s Maus, Satrapi’s Persepolis, Sacco’s Palestine, etc, this paper aspires to uphold the omissions, loop holes and discrepancies in establish history and seeks to question and counter the dominant narratives, thereby showing how history can be represented within the graphic novel.Hence, this paper attempts to analyze and understand history and its representation through the “visual-verbal literacy” (Hirsch 2004: 1212) of the graphic narrative.

Author Information
Antarleena Basu, Ph.D., University of Hyderabad., India

Paper Information
Conference: ECAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Literature/Literary Studies*

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon